I recently shared some of my big goals for 2018, and I’m planning to post monthly updates on them throughout this year. Why?
- I need the accountability 😉
- I want to share my journey with you. I think it’s fun to peek behind the curtain and find out how other entrepreneurs approach their goals, so this year, I’m going to attempt to do the same.
Here are my big picture 2018 goals (just a quick recap of this blog post):
1. Alana Le brand – publish first two books in series of practical, encouraging books for entrepreneurs
2. Genre fiction brand – publish four novels and three novellas (finish the series I launched in 2017)
3. The Six Box – grow to the point where my co-founder and I can pay ourselves monthly salaries of [REDACTED]
4. Health – lift 3+ days per week throughout the whole year
5. Family – keep a family diary to track what’s working and what’s not (especially when it comes to toddler routines and behavior)
6. Faith – 15+ minutes of Bible and prayer time each day
Goals, habits, or milestones?
You’ll notice that some of these goals are habits/systems, and others are milestones. Normally, I would try to choose a single, measurable, milestone goal for each area, but some areas—like faith, family, and good health—are difficult to measure. For those, if I just incorporate the habits above into my life, I know I’ll make progress, and that is good enough for me right now.
When it comes to monthly goals, however, I’m focusing on habits and systems instead of milestones. This is new for me, but I like it!
According to James Clear,
I’ve found that goals are good for planning your progress and systems are good for actually making progress. [emphasis mine]
Goals can provide direction and even push you forward in the short-term, but eventually a well-designed system will always win. Having a system is what matters. Committing to the process is what makes the difference.
I like this concept, and it’s something that my own personal life experience definitely supports. As much as I’d love to daydream constantly about accomplishing a big goal, the real progress in my life and work seems to come from small, consistent, daily steps.
When I decided to write four books in 2017, I didn’t think I’d ever accomplish that goal, and if I’d spent a lot of time obsessing about that goal, I would have gotten discouraged because of how much work it represented.
But I knew I could write or edit around 1,000 words per day, even on a bad day, so that’s pretty much what I did. Some days it was 800 words, some days it was 3,000, and some days it was zero. I worked my way forward word by word, and guess what? By Christmas 2017, I had published three books under my fiction pen name, one under my Six Box brand, and had just finished the manuscript for a fourth fiction book.
For my January 2018 plan, I’ve tried to continue that mindset by “setting” systems instead of setting month-end goals (for the most part). I’ll let you know next month how it goes…
Here are my January 2018 systems (plus one goal):
1. Alana Le brand
Set timer and spend 30 minutes per day, 6 days per week, advancing my 2018 big goals.
I have two little ones at home now – a 2.5 year old and a 3 month old. As I’m sure you can imagine, this has had a MASSIVE impact on the amount of uninterrupted time I have available to work. There are some days when there is only an hour (or less) when they are both asleep but I’m awake. Since I can’t count on my old rhythm of working in the early morning, during my toddler’s midday nap, and after she goes to bed, I’ve had to get more creative. One of the tricks I’m using right now is to seize a moment when they are both content (baby napping, toddler playing or watching a show), then set a timer for 15-30 minutes and work to get as much done as possible in that time frame. I’m using this approach to make sure I make a little progress on my big 2018 goals every day (except my day off!).
2. Genre fiction brand
Send Book 3 to my editor.
This one is a milestone goal, not a habit – because it really needs to happen this month in order to stick to my 2018 timeline. Next month, when I’m working on the manuscript for book 4, I’ll probably set a daily word count goal instead.
3. The Six Box
Set timer and spend 30 minutes per day on 2018 goals.
See 1. for explanation. I’m taking the same approach with The Six Box to make sure I keep pushing things forward, even on chaotic, busy days.
I have three goals for this month: Lift weights 5 times per week, do two short HIIT runs per week, and hit my target calories & macros each day, with one “untracked” day per week (for the sake of my sanity!).
Breaking the ONE thing rule, I know! Sorry. I’m in my last few weeks of “cutting” before I plan to take a break and focus on maintaining my weight for a little while. Planning to push hard this month and hopefully finish strong.
Write at least one daily entry in our family diary.
Rather than make a big pretty journal (which is what I really want to do), I’m keeping it simple by just updating a note on my phone when I can. My goal is to make a new entry in the note every day this month.
Have 15+ minutes of Bible and prayer time each day.
To hold myself accountable, I’m setting a timer for this one, too. iPhone clock app FTW this month!